U.S. Rear Admiral Says Underwater Detonation Plans In Guam Have 'No Harmful Effects'

Chatfield: Social media photographs of explosions 'nothing like' what is planned

By John I Borja

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 3, 2017) – The Navy’s underwater detonation training is nothing like the circulated photo showing a large explosion over water, according to the Joint Region Marianas commander.

Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield on Wednesday said she met with the Guam Legislature to talk about how the detonation training is conducted.

Twelve senators in late April sponsored a resolution that objected to the detonation of explosives on or around Guam, stating it's harmful to the environment. Resolution 103-34 would prevent further training and testing, involving detonation of explosives in the area.

A photo that circulated on the internet showed the result of a 10,000-pound bomb exploding near a ship off the coast of Florida last year, Chatfield said. It was a shock trial test on the ship to demonstrate the impact of the bomb, she said.

“The photo that I saw on social media had really surprised me too. I assure you it does not represent, at all, the type of training we do here,” Chatfield said.

The training to be conducted May 18 by Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5 involves detonating four 1.25-pound charges near fake mines located outside of Apra Harbor, she said. Similar training has been conducted 22 times in the last three years with no harmful effects, she said.

The Joint Region Marianas commander said the Navy works with federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, to ensure military testing and training on Guam’s lands and surrounding waters don't negatively impact the environment. They take into account wildlife, reef habitat and historic preservation when choosing the site of the training, Chatfield said. The Navy also does floor mapping and surveying, she said.

People who have questions regarding the underwater detonation training can contact Joint Region Marianas at cjrmpao@fe.navy.mil.

Pacific Daily News
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